Game Thirty-Nine: Cubs (16-22) vs. Rockies (21-17)
- Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channels 186/844
- Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Carlos Villanueva (1-2, 3.02/1.01) vs. Jeff Francis (1-3, 6.90/1.77)
The Cubs will shoot for a season-high fourth win in a row tonight behind Carlos Villanueva. The Cubs are playing good ball right now. Dale Sveum’s team has won 11 of 20 and five of the last seven … and will face another challenge tonight in the second game with the Rockies.
Cubs pitching held Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki hitless on Monday night (0-for-8) but both players have had their way with Cubs’ pitching over the years. Prior to Monday, Gonzalez owned a career .409/.420/.788 slash line against the Cubs with six doubles, two triples, five home runs and a 1.208 OPS in 17 games while Tulowitzki was .298/.344/.518/.862 with nine doubles, two triples and four home runs in 28 games prior to Monday. Carlos Villanueva must follow the game plan against both players in order to put his team in position to win the game.
The Cubs have hit 19 doubles in three of their last four games and there has been a little improvement in the hitting with runners in scoring position department.
Luis Valbuena is still listed as day-to-day and Dale Sveum said Monday that he would probably be ready to return to the starting lineup on Wednesday night.
Kyuji Fujikawa will not be available for tonight’s game after pitching on back-to-back days (Sunday and Monday). The Cubs needed to see how Fujikawa would pitch in back-to-back days and stuck to their plan despite the score in the eighth inning. Fujikawa will be available on Wednesday.
Tonight it all starts with Carlos Villanueva …
Carlos Villanueva is coming off a no decision against the Cardinals. Villanueva turned a one-run game over to the bullpen with the bases empty and two down in the seventh. Two batters later, the game was tied at four and the Cubs lost another one they should have won. The positive from his last start was that Villanueva put together his best outing since he faced the Reds on April 23. Villanueva allowed three runs on seven hits with three walks and two strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings … his fifth quality start of the year. Villanueva is 0-1 in his last two starts with a 5.11 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP after posting a 1-1 record in his first five starts with a 2.29 ERA and a 0.82 WHIP.
Tonight marks the fifth time Villanueva will start a game at Wrigley this year. Villanueva is 1-1 in the first four with a 3.04 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP.
Carlos Villanueva has never beaten the Colorado Rockies. Villanueva is 0-1 in 11 relief appearances, no starts, with a 10.05 ERA and a 2.02 WHIP. Villanueva has not faced the Rockies since 2010.
Rockies Career Numbers against Carlos Villanueva
- Dexter Fowler – one walk
- Jeff Francis – 0-for-2
- Carlos Gonzalez – 0-for-1
- Todd Helton – 0-for-4
- Jonathan Herrera – 1-for-1
- Troy Tulowitzki – 3-for-4 with a double, two home runs and a walk
Jeff Francis re-signed with the Rockies in the off-season after he posted a 6-7 record in 24 starts with Colorado a year ago (5.58 ERA and a 1.48 WHIP). Francis has struggled this season and has not completed six innings in any start since his first outing on April 5. Francis lasted just four innings in his last outing, and he gave up two runs on four hits with two walks and three strikeouts to the Yankees.
Francis is making his third start outside of Coors Field tonight. Francis is 0-1 in two road starts with a 8.10 ERA and a 2.10 WHIP.
The veteran southpaw is 1-0 in six career starts against the Cubs with a 7.67 ERA and a 1.74 WHIP … at Wrigley Field, no record in four starts with an 8.44 ERA and a 1.88 WHIP.
Cubs Career Numbers against Jeff Francis
- Starlin Castro – 0-for-3
- David DeJesus – 4-for-15 with a double, a triple and a walk
- Scott Hairston – 7-for-19 with a double
- Dioner Navarro – 1-for-2
- Cody Ransom – 3-for-8 with a double
- Nate Schierholtz – 2-for-3
- Alfonso Soriano – 2-for-14
- Carlos Villanueva – 1-for-1
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …